Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Bachelor Party Gone Wrong Teaches Tucker Max Something About Friendship

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell–based on the shocking, ridiculous and hilarious real life adventures of Tucker Max–is the story of an impromptu bachelor party gone horribly awry thanks to a midget, a fat girl, a gaggle of strippers, an overly destructive public intoxication ordinance, and the consequence of Tucker’s unflinching narcissism. A tireless and charismatic novelty seeker, Tucker (Matt Czuchry) tricks his buddy Dan (Geoff Stults) into lying to his fiancée Kristy (Keri Lynn Pratt), so they can go to an legendary strip club three and a half hours away to celebrate Dan’s last days of bachelorhood in proper style. Tucker drags their misanthropic friend Drew (Jesse Bradford) along for the ride, and before they know it Tucker’s pursuit of a hilarious carnal interest lands Dan in serious trouble with his both the law and his future wife.

If you think the most disgusting bathroom scene in movie history occurs in Danny Boyle’s “Trainspotting,” that the most vulgar description of university life in America is in John Landis’s “Animal House,” and the grossest humor in recent years is in most of the stuff by Judd Apatow, think again. Though I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell received an “R” rating instead of the killjoy NC-17, Bob Gosse who directs and Tucker Max who wrote the screenplay from his own best-selling novel, must have avoided the dread letters and number by a pubic hair. Tucker Max, who serves as a producer and writer, is played by a most personable New Hampshire-born fellow with the all-American Texas look, Matt Czuchry—whom you may have never come across if you’ve never seen stuff like “Eight Legged Freaks,” though you’ll get a chance to see him on the initial telecasts of “The Good Wife.” His bio states that the thesp played tennis in college: he looks the part exactly, and though he has passed his 32nd birthday, he easily convinces as 25-year-old law school student in “Beer.” In this mostly entertaining and unremittingly vulgar frat-boy comedy advanced to graduate school, Tucker, a chronic liar who in one classroom scene acts like the kid you sent to the principal in middle school, takes off on a discussion, baited by the professor (Edward Hibbert—who was in the audience at the screening I attended), delivering what even a conservative Republican would call politically incorrect. Political correctness takes a vacation throughout the film’s 105 minutes, as three guys in law school, best friends despite their possessing distinct personalities, head off to a (presumably) Texas town of Salem, a bachelor party given by Tucker and Drew (Jesse Bradford) as a bachelor party sendoff for square-jawed Dan (Geoff Stuits). Dan is coaxed to lie to his perky fiancé, Kristy (Keri Lynn Pratt), who believes they’re going to a bar in the locale. While Tucker is the most articulate, able to lie convincingly even to his pals, Dan comes off like more of a straight-arrow fellow who’d probably prefer to have a beer with his pals at home rather than with Mephistopheles in Hades. For his part, Drew is a misanthrope to turns women by insults to their faces, delivering monologues in monotone to display his apparent displeasure with the night’s activities.

As they three cavort with a variety of women in a bar and later in a strip club, they discover that the various members of the fair sex, who are labeled "sluts" one and all by Drew, are as different in temperament as the fellows. After a series of events, each one fair game for a Saturday Night Live skit—some coming off just as Tucker would want to happen including a roll in the hay with a midget—the stage is set for redemption, for an attempt by Tucker, in particular, to think of drinking tea in heaven rather than pursue what would have inevitably been his fate. Is Tucker really redeemed? Hardly, but he has a way to convince one and all that the halo around his head is the genuine article. Some crafty, if stereotypical side roles are played nicely by Meagen Fay, an actress with an impressive resume here in the role of the bride’s mom, and Marika Domincyzk as Lara, an alleged "slut" who gets the better of the misanthropic Drew, thereby redeeming him. Remember, though: the toilet scene is so off-the-wall realistic you’ll find it difficult to keep your eyes on the screen. It's not perfect, but it has its moments. A 3 on my "Go See" scale.

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